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Rainbow Reading: Don’t Stop Believer-ing

Feature image by Malte Mueller via Getty Images

A book in faded colors of the rainbow is open, and the words RAINBOW READING are on top of it.
illustration by A. Andrews

Hey hi hello, everyone! I’m back again with my metal detector, and lemme tell ya —it’s been a bananas few weeks on the literary internet!

First, if I may, a moment to toot my own horn: I got the chance to dive deep into #BookTok and #Bookstagram for Oprah Daily and had a great time talking about what literary social media has done to mobilize LGBTQ+ readers with some amazing queer BookTokkers and Bookstagrammers. I’m a lil bashful (yashful?), but I’m really proud of this piece, and I hope you’ll check it out!

I’ve also been following the saga of beloved literary magazine The Believer closely: after being sold off by its university sponsor to a mysterious digital media SEO company (and after raising eyebrows when the new owners used the prestige magazine to share some incongruous material about sex toys from one of its subsidiary brands) The Believer is finally returning to the publisher McSweeney’s, where the magazine began its acclaimed run. A lot of the coverage has focused on “bUt WhAt AbOuT tHe SeX tOyS!!11!1!,” which drifted into some disappointing slut-shamey sex negativity and weirdly prudish prestige discourse. In my opinion, this line of conversation entirely missed the larger conversation to be had about SEO content farms and the way they gobble up indie media to strip it for parts, posing a real threat to our media landscape.

Anyways, I have some bonkers theories about what I think might have been going on, but no one cares about my little theories, and all’s well that ends well. I’m glad The Believer is back in capable publishing hands, and I’m hopeful for its future! This whole rigamarole says a lot to me about the unquantifiable value of independent media and how the literary spaces we build are more than just the sum of their parts. In the groundswell of love and support, I see a reflection of the community that keeps Autostraddle going. (And like, when we publish sex toy content, you know we mean it and it’s actually good.)

That’s enough outta me — let’s make like an orange and peel. On this week’s Rainbow Reading, we’ve got:

Shelf Care: Reviews, Essays, and other Things of Note

When I think and teach about writing, I often cite something Michelle Tea said to me in a workshop in 2019, just a few months after I wrote this particular piece: “Being a writer means growing up in public.” So I think of this essay as just one more step in my growth. I’m proud of it, and fucking delighted to be in an anthology with so many literary rockstars, many whose writing — their own growing up in public — helped me become the writer and dyke I am today.

— Vanessa Friedman, on her essay in new anthology Sex and the Single Woman

Autocorrect: Books content from the last couple weeks at Autostraddle!

I got a nice giggle out of this one.

That’s all she wrote, folks! If you’re a queer writer, particularly an early-career queer writer: I’d love to hear about the cool things you’re up to so that I can share links to your published essays, book reviews, short stories, poems, and longform features on LGBTQ+ topics! Please email me links for consideration at [email protected] with the subject line “Rainbow Reading Submission” — I’m an avid browser-tab-collector, and I especially want to hear from you if you’ve just landed your first publication or first major byline.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Yashwina Canter is a reader, writer, and dyke putting down roots in Portland, Oregon. You can find her online at @yashwinacanter.

Yashwina has written 53 articles for us.


  1. So many interesting things to add to my TBR pile and ‘To Read’ bookmarks folder! Loved your article on BookTok as well; as a former bookseller I love seeing what’s new in the book business, especially from a marketing/word of mouth perspective.

  2. Hi – there are no lesbian book clubs where I live, sooo I decided to start my own! June will be month #1, any recommendations on what our first book should be? Thank you!!

    • Omg I love this! Always happy to give recommendations — what kind of books do you have in mind? Do you want a tried-and-true classic or do you want something new? are you leaning towards fiction, nonfiction,or a mix? are you looking for happily-ever-after, or are things that get a little thornier okay? Personally, I think Carol, Fun Home, Stone Butch Blues (available for free as a PDF!) and Last Night at the Telegraph Club could all be really great starting points :)

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